Your fireplace and your mantel are likely the centerpieces of your living room, and possibly even the centerpieces of your home.
Ideally, your mantel should pop, standing out as a strong and beautiful accent to the rest of your home décor. But how can you make sure that your mantel gets all the attention it deserves and makes your home look as warm and inviting as you want it to?
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Start With the Right Mantel
but can be easily dented or damaged. By contrast, a cast stone fireplace mantel is highly durable and resistant to different types of damage, but it’s also much heavier, and you’ll be restricted on the style options you have.
Corner mantels are ideal if you want your fireplace to fit neatly in the corner, and many people intentionally choose a mantel with a built-in shelf, so you can display things along the top.
Clean Your Mantel (with the Right Products)
Next, make sure to clean your mantel regularly. Even if you’re not using the fireplace often, the mantel will accumulate dirt, dust, and debris over time.
If you have a wood mantel, you’ll want to use a mild household cleaning agent and a damp cloth, followed up with oil-based cleaners on a periodic basis to make the wood shine. Avoid water-based cleaning agents and harsh chemical cleaners, which can cause damage.
To clean stone mantels, you’ll need a specialized cleaning product. If it’s sealed, a mild soap with warm water should suffice. If unsealed, you’ll need to follow manufacturer guidelines carefully.
When possible, decorate your mantel seasonally. During Christmas time, you can line your mantel with holly or a small Christmas tree. During Halloween,
you can use pumpkins, leaves, and other tasteful pieces to bring the spirit of the season to your living room. Rotating these types of decorations will always make your mantel seem new and interesting, while changing the mood of your living space.
Invest in Better Lighting
Complementary lighting can instantly make your mantel more apparent and more beautiful. Installing focused accent lighting can highlight your decorations and make the mantel literally shine;
otherwise, subtle auxiliary lighting can give your living room a soft glow. It may also be helpful to keep your curtains open, so natural light can fill your living space.
It’s never a bad idea to practice minimalism with your fireplace mantel. Some fireplace owners are tempted to load up their mantel shelf with as many items and decorations as will fit in the space.
But this can make the mantel shelf seem cluttered and overloaded; instead, it’s often better to highlight a single piece and keep the area as clean and clutter-free as possible.
Choose Complementary Features
You can also make your mantel more visible and improve its aesthetics by making use of other complementary features around it, such as:
· Shelves. Tastefully placed shelves could be the perfect way to expand the natural shelf at the top of your mantel. You can offer more seasonal décor without the space looking overly cluttered, or you can come up with displays that complement your primary display. You can even angle the shelves to draw the eye to the mantel itself.
· Furniture. High-quality furniture can also make your entire living space feel cozier and look more polished. Just make sure you don’t have pieces that completely overpower your mantel in the space.
· Accent colors. Consider using powerful accent colors to draw more attention to the fireplace mantel. Depending on the type of mantel you have, you may be able to paint it directly; otherwise, you can paint the wall behind the mantel a contrasting accent color.
· Décor. Many different types of décor can complement a fireplace mantel well. A well-positioned mirror can make your space look bigger and provide framing, while a floral arrangement can bring a touch of nature to the home.
Finally, make it a point to experiment with your fireplace mantel design and decorations. It’s hard to tell exactly what will work best for your living space, especially if you’re trying to establish new aesthetics, so you’ll only know for sure when you see it in action.
Try something new and see if it works; in a worst-case scenario, you can simply go back to the way it was before.
With these strategies, you can get more out of your fireplace mantel and make it the true focal point of your living room. If you’re successful, you’ll end up with a much more attractive and inviting space for your family and guests for years to come.